the irresistible fleet of bicycles


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let’s get everyone to the table

Just Roots is an incredible, beloved farm and non-profit in my own community. They provide low-income CSA shares, community garden plots, a communal medical garden, and low-cost accessible workshops at their farm. They are fundraising today to offset the cost of providing shares on a sliding scale and to expand their programming! If you have a penny to spare, this is a great jar to throw it in!


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making the eggs-pansion a reality!

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OK, gang, here’s the deal: our friends at Apple Creek Farm (run by Greenhorn Abby Sadauckus and her partner) just needs a few more eggs in their basket to be successfully funded in their Barnraiser! With three days to go, they are within 85% of their goal of funding a the construction of a chicken coop that would allow them to meet the demand for local pasture-raised eggs at their local farmers market. As Abby writes below and as every farmer can empathize, raising money is so just so much harder than the actually work of farming, so let’s help a sister out!

More info about the eggs-pansion (and I hope you’ve caught the double pun there) here!

Here’s the latest from Abby: “As we are all well aware starting a farm takes more that great products, consistent markets and energy—it takes the support of the community as well. The campaign will fund the construction of a hoop house which will serve as winter housing for our expanded flock of organic laying hens.

We’ve met our minimum funding goal of $8,000 and the remaining funds will help us purchase new nest boxes that will make egg collection easier, the lumber for constructing our end walls, and an exhaust fan to keep the house dry.

By improving the way we produce our eggs we’ll be able to offer the same unparalleled product, enhance our hen’s living conditions and double our flock without increasing our workload! Eggs are a key component of our market presence and when we run out in the first two hours of markets our customers notice! This project will enable us to sell more eggs to market shoppers, natural foods stores and through a CSA.

Since we brought all of our farming activities to Bowdoinham we’ve increased our capacity and now we’ve outgrown our current buildings and are ready to take the next step. So, we have this fundraising campaign. We’ve been pushing it for a month and to be honest, it’s harder than farming!”

Support the Greenhorns community! Donate here!

 


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be part of the egg*pansion!

Getting style points for its high danceability factor, this video comes from longtime Greenhorns collaborator (most recently of Sail Freight fame) Abby Sadauckas. Abby is “growing out” her farm, Apple Creek Farm, and is asking for help funding an Eggspansion. And how does one “eggspand,” exactly? You build a hoop house to serve as a winter coop for your flock of laying hens, which you then can quadruple! What does this let you do? Meet the local demand for fresh local organic eggs at the farmers market! Please, support their Barnraiser here!

Apple Creek Farm produces organic pasture-raised livestock and eggs in Bowdoinham, Maine.

Oh, and for those of you raising your eyebrows with intrigue at the word “Barnraiser,” here’s some more info on the farmer-oriented crowd-sourcing site!


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get the small farmers journal back on its feet… or, er, presses

We post Kickstarters all the time over here at the Greenhorns Blog, and we mean it when we say that we are excited about them all (such an amazing amount of creative and NECESSARY work going on out there), but there are few Kickstarter campaigns that are as near and dear to our heart as this one. For the last 40 years, the Small Farmers Journal has given voice to the small independent family farm, publishing pieces that honor both the traditions and innovations of small-scale farming. Somewhere in my closet of precious things, is an edition that a friend found for me in a thrift store that– though it is older than I am– is bursting with that sort of advice that is never out of style. In fact, it taught me half of what I know about pruning.

These days there is a wealth of hip publications with glossy photos that report on farms, but SFJ is one of the pioneers of grassroots agricultural journalism, and there still just ain’t nothing else like it, folks! (Well, except maybe the New Farmer’s Almanac… the new edition, by the way, is now available!) Point is, that the new agrarian movement has a lot to thank this publication for. As the journal describes itself, “Supported 100% by its readership, this folksy and feisty publication, a true clarion of free speech in the best old sense of the phrase, is a vibrant and exciting platform for engaging far-flung ideas about anything pertinent to the small family farm experience.”

SFJ hit a few road bumps in the last year and is a little behind on its publication, but we are CONFIDENT that this community can help them raise the $25,000 necessary to jump-start publication and get the journal back on its feet. Let’s do this!


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happy boy farms needs your help!

happy boy farms flood

For over 20 years, the good people at Happy Boy Farms have been providing delicious organic produce to loyal customers throughout Northern California and the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Now more than ever, though, they need your help as unfortunately it is possible to have too much of a good thing:

Last year at this time, we prayed for rain, as we had experienced significant crop failure due to years of drought. This winter, we got what we prayed for, and it has rained, and rained, and rained, resulting in flooding that has caused catastrophic damage to our farm.  While we know the risk of farming fresh, organic produce looms large, this winter season has hit us harder than any of our 25 years growing organically. A thirty foot river of water swept away our tractor while wiping  out over 100 acres of crops ready for harvest.  Meanwhile, the flooding has prevented us from accessing 80 acres of our fields to plant for the upcoming spring crops.  In all, over 1/2 of our productive land is inaccessible. Furthermore, several large electric motors that power our wells have been ruined by flood waters. Now more than ever, the generosity of our dedicated customer base will help to determine the future of our farm.

There’s a Go Fund Me campaign set up to help out this wonderful farm in their time of need. Feel free to donate large or small and please help spread the word by sharing this post and the following link:

https://www.gofundme.com/happyboyfarms


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the true story of a farm turned cult

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Helen Zuman, long-time Greenhorns-follower and contributor to New Farmers Almanac, has an agricultural story to tell that is as gripping as it is disquieting– and she’s asking for help getting it published.

Helen writes, “The action unfolds on a farm in the backwoods of Western North Carolina – Zendik Farm, which, I discovered after being kicked out, was actually a cult. The story features an urge to homestead (part of what sent me hunting for a place like Zendik in the first place), firewood, wheelbarrows, snuffling bucks, outhouses, de-nailing, wild persimmons, abundant intrigue – and a glimpse of the detours aspiring agrarians were perhaps more likely to take back in the late 90s, when the beginning-farmer scene was nowhere near as robust as it is today.”

An intimate journey through the full arc of cult involvement, MATING IN CAPTIVITY shows how Zuman joined Zendik, learned its mating rituals, endured exile, and – finally – mated in the wild.

Helen has launched a thirty-day kickstarted campaign to fund the book, and rewards include advance access to the paperback, a reading (with Q&A) at a venue of your choice, and a handwritten copy of the manuscript. The campaign ends April 10.


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an alternative route to farm financing

 

photo credit – Don Graham

Recently a friend of mine ran a pretty successful crowdfunding campaign to help secure a startup loan for her and her partners farm. I had heard of Kiva before (socially focused micro loans) but this was the first time I actually checked the organization out.

Crowd-sourcing has it’s detractors. For a while there it seemed like kickstarter was set to be the worlds largest purveyors of ‘knick-knacks with a purpose’. But given barriers to finance, they actually can be useful tools. It takes town and a community to grow food and it makes sense to have communities and people directly invested in the success of farms and businesses in their regions.

Kiva has a fairly simple concept and for folks that want to go around traditional forms of debt, ie banks, this could be another option. The part of this organization that makes the most sense is that there is 0% interest. Even though I am not a financial specialist, I can state pretty unequivocally that’s a pretty good percent rate for interest! It’s also a unique way to get community buy in for your farm without having to secure 1000 individual small contributions (and the paperwork and legalities that would entail).

Other social, agriculture, and community related crowd financing platforms exist as well. The slow money movement’s Beetcoin is a good example.

So, if you have been looking into different financing to help get things off the ground take a second to look into this organizations and some of the other successful small farms that have used the tool for funding their projects.

you can check Kiva’s site here